T-Mobile buys 700MHz spectrum to launch Extended Range LTE in Chicago; deal closes in Q4

T-Mobile buys 700MHz spectrum to launch Extended Range LTE in Chicago; deal closes in Q4
T-Mobile's Extended Range LTE service uses low-frequency 700MHz spectrum, which travels twice as far and penetrates buildings four times better than higher-frequency airwaves. The carrier recently expanded the service into Boston, and now it appears that Chicago will also be covered with the enhanced 4G LTE signal. The carrier informed us this afternoon that it has purchased 12MHz of 700MHz spectrum from Leap Wireless for $420 million.

Once the carrier turns on Extended Range LTE in the Windy City, it will have the service available in the top 10 markets in the U.S. Including the 10.9 million people in the Chicago metro area that will be covered, T-Mobile will have 700MHz A-block spectrum available for 83% of the U.S. population, or 269 million people.

It is interesting when you consider that Verizon and AT&T are actually helping their rival build this fast 4G LTE network. Verizon had plenty 700MHz A-block spectrum and was doing nothing with it when they sold it to T-Mobile two-years ago. And AT&T owns Leap Wireless, the company that sold the 700MHz spectrum to T-Mobile in Wednesday's transaction. The deal closes in the fourth quarter of this year. At that time, T-Mobile will be allowed to use the airwaves to begin offering Extended Range LTE in cities like Chicago, Elgin, Joliet, Waukegan, Evanston, Naperville, Aurora, Gary (IN), Rockford, De Kalb, Janesville (WI), Bloomington, Normal, Kankakee, Kenosha (WI), and more.


T-Mobile also hopes to add more low frequency airwaves when it gets involved in the upcoming incentive auction for 600MHz spectrum. The carrier has reportedly budgeted $8 billion to bid on the airwaves being sold by television broadcasters.

source: T-Mobile

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3 Comments

1. gomulkaaa

Posts: 42; Member since: Sep 02, 2011

Any current phones support this band?

2. mrmessma

Posts: 271; Member since: Mar 28, 2012

3. RandysBuddy

Posts: 12; Member since: Jul 08, 2015

The unfortunate thing is what T-Mobile calls "Extended Range" is actually every-day vanilla LTE service which AT&T and Verizon sell. Both use Cellular Frequency Bands. The problem, however is that T-Mobile's Band 12 is about 1/5th the size of AT&T's Band 5, or Verizon's Band 13. So in my area, it's basically impossible to use. Very often my phone would ring busy when T-Mobile launched "Enhanced LTE" service. I was better off getting a bump in internet speed at home and the office; then rely on T-Mobile to deliver calls. I used WiFi calling exclusively for the final 8 months; then cancelled the service when AT&T's Cricket offered a $100 credit for T-Mobile customers who switch.

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